See the pitch deck this first-time CEO used to raise Series A funding remotely during the pandemic just 60 days after she joined the company
Jen Grant joined no-code software startup Turbo Systems in February as a first-time CEO, and on Thursday the company announced $3.45 million in Series A extension funding. The former CMO at Looker rushed to put together a pitch deck once she realized there was an opportunity to raise extension funding from existing investor Mayfield and possibly other interested VCs. Grant said that the remote fundraising process was probably faster than it would have been if she'd had to meet with new and existing investors in person, because of the travel and logistics it would have involved to get everyone in the same room. Grant worked closely with founder and CTO Hari Subramanian to create the deck so that it remained consistent with what he had shared in the past but also included updates based on Grant's vision for the business. See the full deck below. Click here for more BI Prime stories.
Jen Grant had already prepared a 60-day plan when she joined no-code software startup Turbo Systems as CEO. She was a first-time chief executive, and she wanted to make an impact early on at the 3-year-old company once she officially joined in February. Then the pandemic hit. Instead of prioritizing growth and doubling down on enterprise sales, Grant was meeting her team through Zoom and calculating just how long the startup could last on its available funding if the company operated conservatively. Luckily, she told Business Insider, Turbo Systems was in a stable financial position before she joined, and she had the luxury of at least two years' worth of runway. But after her first board meeting 30 days into her new job, an existing investor advised her to scrap the newest set of conservative plans, and prioritize growth. That could involve raising more money during a pandemic. "I asked [Mayfield partner Rajeev Batra] to slow down," Grant told Business Insider. "I had only been here for 30 days, so let's slow down. I waited another 30 days, and then I said we should pitch the Mayfield team as, okay, let's talk about it." It worked. On Thursday, Turbo Systems announced it had raised $3.45 million in Series A extension funding led by Mayfield. The startup had previously raised $8 million in Series A funding, also from Mayfield, back in 2018. Turbo Systems offers no-code software that, it says, enables any staffer to custom-design a mobile app and deploy it quickly. As its pitch deck outlines, the company is focusing first on helping its customers to organize field services visits for equipment such as medical devices. The company says the apps can be tailored to manage work orders and keep track of details like signatures, and confirmations that workers are using the appropriate protective equipment, or PPE. Grant said her revised 60-day plan included completely revamping the team's pitch deck, which had been created by founder and CTO Hari Subramanian. She didn't want to erase his vision, she told Business Insider, but she also felt that the new deck would be a stake in the ground by which existing and potential investors could evaluate her as the new CEO. "When you have a founder and then bring in a new CEO, I have to embrace the big message that Hari has been pitching but I also have to make up my own while deeply understanding what the vision is and owning that," Grant said. She said the team, along with Batra as an advisor, was able to work out a business story that felt natural and cohesive, while still remaining aggressive about growth. But running slides and practicing the pitch remotely had its own challenges, Grant said. Timing and picking who spoke when was tricky, as was incorporating revisions from multiple parties. Ultimately, she says she was happy with the remote pitching process, though it might not work well for every company to bypass in-person meetings. Grant says she recognized that Turbo Systems' successful raise was largely a function of the relationships she and Subramanian built prior to the pandemic. "I think it actually goes a little faster when everything's remote because getting everyone in person is more difficult, but with remote it's just, do you have time on your calendar and let's schedule something," Grant said. "I imagine the advantage that I had when pitching these folks was that I had some sort of relationship with or Hari had a relationship with or Rajeev from Mayfield had a relationship." See Turbo Systems' Series A pitch deck that combined the founder's and the new CEO's company visions and brought investors on board remotely.SEE ALSO: These 25 investors are hunting for the next big fintech unicorn. Here's what founders should know before pitching them.
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Here's a script to help you ask for startup money from friends and family in the least awkward way possible
Summary List Placement Asking your friends and family to invest in your business is fraught with...Summary List Placement Asking your friends and family to invest in your business is fraught with the potential for melodrama. Unlike the kind of analysis that comes with a bank loan, when you borrow money from your loved ones, you invite a special kind of scrutiny. Suddenly, your dad has license to question whether or not you really needed that new desk lamp, and your doting grandmother might wonder aloud why you turned her nest egg into a third website redesign. Still, the fact that founders so routinely turn to friends and family loans — despite the messy strings and relationship complications — is testament to their value. No one will give you more money, on better terms, with less requirement of proof than your family. To make the conversation a little easier, Business Insider spoke with a number of founders who have successfully raised friends and family funding. Below is a list of the most pressing considerations to bear in mind when pitching your loved ones, as well as a script that any entrepreneur can use for seed-stage fundraising. Acknowledge the risk of their investment One of the main reasons founders turn to friends and family financing is because, generally, the money comes with very few strings attached; your armchair investors are either getting equity (a percentage of ownership in the company) or the promise of a recouped payment — if the young company is an eventual success. These kinds of lending conditions are extremely favorable to the founder, which is why so many entrepreneurs turn to friends and family financing first. However, the vast majority of startups fail within seven years, meaning most friends and family rounds are financing companies that will eventually die. Founders and those familiar with the startup environment understand these risks, but most people do not. So, before anything else, make sure that your potential investors understand the risk factor of investing in a startup. In a text message he sent to prospective friends and family investors, Andrew Luong, a cofounder of Doorvest, spelled it out clearly: "Early stage investing is risky and often goes to zero." Frame the pitch as an opportunity, not a request If you are offering investors equity in exchange for cash, then you can frame their support as a form of seed investment, in which a small amount of money now can translate to a huge payday in a few years. Very few people get an opportunity to invest in a startup on the ground level, a point Luong emphasized to his friends and family when pitching. Normally, only institutional investors have the resources to inject cash into a small company, because they have established the pipelines that enable them to seek out, research, filter, and then invest in promising startups. For that reason, Luong and his cofounder Justin Kasad underscored the fact that they were offering their friends and family a rare opportunity. "Yes, it was technically an investment into Doorvest, but the angle that we were pitching was more about giving them exposure to early-stage startups, or angel investing, which is something that we believe is an awesome class that most people don't have access to," said Luong. Luong and Kasad were able to raise more than $100,000 in family and friends funding, before then approaching institutional investors, according to a spreadsheet viewed by Business Insider. The Doorvest founders were confident that they would receive venture capital funding, so their friends and family outreach served mainly to give their loved ones a valuable financial opportunity. In this way, framing their outreach as an opportunity helped shift the psychology of the exchange, making it feel less like an obligation and more like a gift. Be professional, it's time to practice your pitch Treating your friends and family investors professionally accomplishes a number of things. First, it will increase the likelihood that they'll invest. According to Matthew Dailly, the managing director at Tiger Financial, your preparedness indicates that you are serious about your work, and it shows family members that you have put a significant amount of thought into the project. "If they see that you are passionate about this project and could make revenue from it, they will trust in it too and potentially share that passion," said Daily. Dailly also says that your friends and family round is the perfect time to test out the pitch deck and presentation you plan on using with professional investors. This way, you go through the work of putting together all your resources, and you get a practice audience that will be much more forgiving. In addition, treating the process as a professional opportunity helps keep it separate from your personal life. This is especially helpful when a family member declines to invest, because you understand that they are passing on a business opportunity, not on you. Be specific about how much, how you'll use it, and how you'll pay it back Laying out exactly how much money you want to raise, what you plan on doing with that money, and how you plan on paying back your investors all make your request feel more actionable. Alex Tran and Kim Nguyen, cofounders of Seattle-based Rain City Cleaners, raised $32,000 from their friends and family. They also explained clearly how their investors' money would be recouped. "We wrote a contract that stated we would return their money plus 1% interest," said Tran. "This was much better than us going to a bank and getting a business loan. There is no deadline for us to return the borrowed money." Likewise George Pitchkhadze, the chief marketing officer of the vegan food service Thrive Cuisine, laid out the specific sum he was seeking for his business in the email he sent to family and friends. "The sum I'm looking to raise is $18,000; no more, no less," wrote Pitchkhadze. He received $18,330 in funding. Friends and family investment script: Dear (name), For the past (amount of time), I have been working on building (company name), a (sentence that succinctly and specifically describes what your product or company does). In recent months, we have seen a number of encouraging signs of consumer interest. Our product has (insert applicable success metric, such as: been downloaded X number of times, accumulated X number of page views, generated X number of sales, increased revenue X%, driven X amount of engagement on social media, earned X amount of media coverage). To capitalize on this growing momentum, our team has decided that it's time to take this project to the next level. In the next six months, I want to: (list of items you will use the investment money to accomplish, such as: launch an official website, hire a marketing agency, lease a storefront, buy raw material in greater volume, etc.). By taking these steps, (company name) will be able to (insert quantifiable success metric, such as: "become the most popular dog-walking app in Portland," "generate $50,000 in sales by the end of the year," "capture 100% of the marijuana delivery market in the Lakeview neighborhood.") To do that, I am inviting you to invest in (company name). I am looking to raise (amount of money) by (amount of time). All investors will receive (a percentage of equity in the company; a promissory note pledging the full recoupment of your investment; a full return on their investment plus 2%; a percentage of net profit for the next 5 years; etc.). Please note: As with all early-stage investment, there is a possibility that you will lose this money. Please consider this reality when determining what amount to invest. Otherwise, if you're interested, please reach out over email so we can start working together. I am also happy to send over my complete pitch deck, which includes a financial breakdown, competitive landscape analysis, list of my team members, and a roadmap for my product. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you. Sincerely, NameSEE ALSO: How to Get Funding From Friends, Family, and Fools SEE ALSO: These startups will lend to you — just so long as your friends and family commit too Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How NASA strategically paints its vehicles for space
An exclusive look at the pitch deck HR startup Flux used to raise $3 million as the pandemic makes remote working the norm
San Francisco-based HR startup Flux is launching out of stealth with a $3 million seed funding...San Francisco-based HR startup Flux is launching out of stealth with a $3 million seed funding round led by Uncork Capital and Amplify Partners. The company works to help businesses provide clearer internal pathways for progression for existing staff, dubbed "internal mobility." The company says it has seen a boost in engagement during the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended office workers' routines. "We want people's jobs to become careers again, with Covid the new normal is that employees are remote and are increasingly disconnected from their company," CEO Nick Ionita said. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. San Francisco-based HR startup Flux is launching out of stealth with a $3 million seed funding round led by Uncork Capital and Amplify Partners. The company works to help businesses provide clearer internal pathways for progression for existing staff, dubbed "internal mobility." The company says it has seen a 100% increase in engagement growth during the past five months, as employers look to better mobilize employees and help overwhelmed teams remotely. "We want people's jobs to become careers again, with Covid the new normal is that employees are remote and are increasingly disconnected from their company," Nick Ionita, CEO and cofounder of Flux, told Business Insider in an interview. "We can democratize roles within companies by helping companies unlock different parts of their business and show that staff are applicable in lots of places." The idea is that employees have better visibility of how the work they are doing, or could be doing within a company, can be tied to their career goals within the business. Some 97% of employees who have completed work through Flux report confidence in their ability to navigate their career within their current company, Ionita claimed. During the pandemic, Flux has seen a boom in part-time roles become available with the platform providing better options for employees. COVID-19 has accelerated a trend towards converting "gig" roles into valuable opportunities to learn new skills and work with different teams under the same organization, even while flexible and remote. Flux was able to close its funding round before the pandemic hit the US. "The pandemic has accelerated our go-to-market strategy but also helped to change our thinking on it, we're also focusing on smaller businesses now," Ionita added. Check out Flux's pitch deck below:SEE ALSO: Europe's hot challenger banks Monzo, Starling Bank, and Revolut all posted ballooning losses for 2019, raising questions about their long-term viability Flux Flux Flux Flux Flux Flux Flux Flux Flux Flux Flux
LEAKED: A decade before Postmates was acquired by Uber for $2.65 billion, its founder used this 13-slide pitch deck to sell his idea for the new delivery service (UBER)
Postmates' original pitch deck, put together by founder Bastian Lehmann, was leaked this week to Business...Postmates' original pitch deck, put together by founder Bastian Lehmann, was leaked this week to Business Insider. The pitch deck makes clear Lehmann's broad ambitions for his startup; he wanted to created a general-purpose local courier service, not just a food delivery company. Lehmann ended up building one of the top food delivery companies in the space, outlasting competitors and raising $900 million in funding. Last week, Uber announced plans to buy Postmates for $2.65 billion. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Long before Postmates became one of the top four food delivery services in the US and agreed to be purchased by Uber for $2.65 billion this month, it was little more than an idea for a low-cost courier service. The concept originated with Bastian Lehmann, a German entrepreneur, whose efforts creating a social media company called Curated.by was struggling to gain interest from investors. Lehmann decided to pivot and focus on what he saw as a better opportunity — local delivery of goods. The company he created from that idea in 2011 — Postmates — clicked with consumers and VC investors, gaining popularity as one of the pioneering app-based services for restaurant food delivery. But in the early days when the market for restaurant delivery apps was not yet proven, Lehmann and his cofounders needed to convince venture capital investors that the idea had potential. Postmates' first pitch deck — leaked to Business Insider this week, but put together by Lehmann before the company raised its first round of seed funding back in 2011 — shows Lehmann's broad ambitions to build a new kind of general purpose courier service. At the time, according to the deck, Postmates was running a small trial in San Francisco. And food delivery was just one of multiple ideas for what Lehmann believed Postmates could provide. The headline on one slide reads "Why stop with one market?" and then lists nearly 30 different types of industries or products Postmates could eventually serve or deliver. A Postmates representative declined to comment on the pitch deck. Lehmann's ambition paid off. He built a billion-dollar company that outlasted numerous competitors. Although he failed to lead his company through a hoped-for initial public offering, he sold his company to Uber this month at a valuation that's nearly three times the $900 million that was invested in the company over the years. Here's the pitch deck Postmates used to raise its first seed round back in 2011:SEE ALSO: How Postmates went from multiple IPO setbacks to a $2.65 billion takeover by Uber Got a tip about a startup or the venture industry? Contact Troy Wolverton via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, message him on Twitter @troywolv, or send him a secure message through Signal at 415.515.5594. You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop. Read more about startups and venture capital: This VC just raised $150 million to invest in ground transportation startups. He says there are better opportunities than trying to find the next Tesla. This VC backed self-driving car startup Zoox into a big buyout by Amazon. Here's why he says that deal signals a new wave of automation. Amazon's $1.2 billion deal to buy Zoox shows just how hard building a self-driving car still is —and why even more startups could become buyout targets Palmer Luckey's military contracting startup Anduril is now worth $1.9 billion